Ella Rosewood Dance
Choreography, performance, and education based in Brooklyn, NY.

8th Dance

Eighth Dance (1949)
Choreographed by Sybil Shearer

Sybil Shearer in “Eighth Dance” (1949).

 
 

Eighth Dance (1949)
Choreographed by Sybil Shearer
Staged by Ella Rosewood with permission of the Morrison-Shearer Foundation based on the film performance of “Mussorgsky as performed for the British Film Institute  - Six Solos, Choreographed and Danced by Sybil Shearer and Directed by Helen Balfour Morrison. Northbrook, IL: Sybil Shearer Studio, 1956."
Coached by Toby Nicholson, Morrison-Shearer Foundation Trustee  Danced by Ella Rosewood
Music by Mussorgsky, Pictures at an Exhibition
Costume by Cheryl Lovett after the original


Sybil Shearer (1912-2005) burst upon the modern dance scene in October 1941 in a solo debut at Carnegie Hall that received rave reviews and an award from critic John Martin as the year’s most promising solo choreographer. Already setting a radical new direction in modern dance, she came to believe that New York was no place to develop dance as an art.

In 1942 she left New York for the new Roosevelt College in Chicago, where she was given the freedom to work independently, close to nature, and in her own unorthodox way. Within a month of her arrival, she met Helen Balfour Morrison, the photographer who became her artistic collaborator for the next forty years. Thus began a career of one of the finest dancers of the 20th century, though deemed “elusive,” and “rarely seen.”

Shearer formed the Morrison-Shearer Foundation in 1991 to perpetuate their artistic legacy. Under the auspices of the Foundation, she brought Susanne Linke, the German expressionist dancer, to Chicago in 1991 to perform at the Harold Washington Library. In 1993 she arranged a tour to Germany for the 20th anniversary of the Hamburg Ballet, whose director, John Neumeier, had been a member of the Sybil Shearer Company in the 1960s. In February 2005 she danced publicly for the last time at the Art Institute of Chicago, interpreting Matisse in the "Artists and Dance" program, just nine months before her death at the age of 93.